Now, I don't want to pretend that your behavior isn't a factor in your life expectancy. It's actually a huge factor -- it's just another one you have surprisingly little control over. We all know that smoking will lower your life expectancy, as will drinking too much, being overweight, or writing for Cracked. We resolve to be better about these things, but despite our best efforts 67 percent of people with gym memberships can't even muster the get-up-and-go to use them once.
Denis Raev / iStock
"Thanks for your rent money; see you never!"
It turns out that knowing about the health risks of an activity has little to no effect on our ability to stop doing it. And it isn't us just being too weak to resist temptation when it's in front of us: We will actively pursue doing things that we know are bad for us with the tenacity of a drunken sophomore with his ex's phone number. When this country's government tried to prohibit people from drinking, in an era called The Stoppening, the country basically said, "Do we really need a government?" and gave all their money to hooch-pedaling gangsters. "People should stop drinking" is the only Constitutional amendment ever to be repealed completely. That happened because, given the choice between not drinking and empowering murderers who live by the law of the jungle, most people chose alcohol.
Library of Congress
"We're not pissed, and we're pissed!"
So, good luck changing your behavior to save your life. The odds are against you, and also, it very well may not matter.